Image from dope90.bandcamp.com
There had been points of reminiscence that halt me in my tracks from time to time. In times of lax activity or isolation, one independent detail from an obscurely unrelated thing deceives my mind into approaching a flashback.
Sometimes the enticement could occur through a song you’re listening to, as well as a scene on television, a conversation you’ve had, or an image that sparked your recollection.
Growing up with Hip-Hop music reverberating in the background and Adult Swim glowing in the darkness of my bedroom, moments like these have been unconsciously ingrained in the back of my mind. I would not have realized it until later on the process of life that those moments would be the hazy, romanticized moments of my youth.
DOPE90 is a compilation channel from obscure, typically hidden Hip-Hop producers from around the world. Their Bandcamp channel dedicates their projects to shed exposure to the fewer known home producers from the international spectrum.
Each project they post is an aggregation of the many producers they’ve come in contact with. Many of their artists include the virtuosos of the instrumental age, such as FloFilz, Wun Two, Made in M, and Figub Brazlevic.
Image from shopify.undergroundhiphop.com
Each of the beat chemists envelope their own personality into their dusty instrumentals, but overall, all their sounds can be easily categorized into the “lo-fi” subgenre of Hip-Hop.
Joint Flight is their 2016 compilation. The beats here typically last no more than four minutes (with the exception of Usual Suspect) and are simple in its nature. The compilation lasts eighteen tracks of these benign sounds.
The beats are in no way extraneous. Their formula involves a linear mechanism that is more inspired by the feeling of Elysium rather than feelings of labor.
Due to this simplistic nature, it oddly rings an inner flashback from the conscious reservoir. The recognizable and forefronting snares and samples remind me of some time in the further past.
Being faulty as memories are, there’s something in these beats that lay out the foundation for you. There are no layered details or compiled complexity. The way the drums are is how they are.
With the track Flauta by Wun Two, the beat itself follows a two-step pattern wrapped in the lo-fi drapery of the undiscovered sample. With this two minute track, there isn’t an exact image that appears in my threshold, but a vague image supported by a familiar feeling.
I retrieve the same feeling when listening to Usual Suspect by MadChe. The volume of the track has been turned down, allowing the drums to rattle instead of stoush through the track, allowing the minimalistic sample and chimes to undulate through.
Minimalism is probably the best word to describe these beats, as well as the feeling they convey. These are track inspired by the Jazz-influenced, mixed background noise from the 1990’s, hence the title of the label.
Image from dope90.bandcamp.com
Ruminating the reflections I’ve received with these beats, I can only recall varying images and shots of scenes that perhaps have or have not happened. When I listen to Brooklyn by Tusken, I have odd reflections of the passing Summer breezes or the image of rippling waters from the nearest pond.
When I listen to Usual Suspect, I recall the times when staying up all night, binge-watching Adult Swim as the glow in the dark. Listening to Paseo by Made in M reminds me of the early morning hygienic procedures before heading towards school.
There is no sense into these reflections and perhaps that is not the intention of the beats. Although, as all music typically is, whatever interpretation of the art you make of it, it’s how the art resonates with you the most.